A Conversation with Hugh Eakin, Author, ‘Picasso’s War; How Modern Art Came to America.’ With Special Guest Professor Philip Eliasoph



Join Michael in his discussion with Hugh Eakin about his new book Picasso’s War, How Modern Art Came to America which recounts the determined effort of a tiny group of people who, for nearly 30 years, fought to bring modern art to the United States impeded by war, economic crises, and a deeply skeptical public. 

Joining Michael as a special guest to help facilitate this conversation is Dr. Philip Eliasoph, Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut.


Hugh Eakin

Hugh Eakin, a senior editor at Foreign Affairs, has written about museums and the art world for The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.

About Picasso’s War

“Picasso’s War is the never-before-told story about how a single exhibition, a decade in the making, irrevocably changed American taste, and in doing so saved dozens of the twentieth century’s most enduring artworks from the Nazis. Through a deft combination of new scholarship and vivid storytelling, Hugh Eakin shows how two men and their obsession with Picasso changed the art world forever.

In January 1939, Pablo Picasso was renowned in Europe but disdained by many in the United States. One year later, Americans across the country were clamoring to see his art. How did the controversial leader of the Paris avant-garde break through to the heart of American culture?

The answer begins a generation earlier, when a renegade Irish American lawyer named John Quinn set out to build the greatest collection of Picassos in existence. His dream of a museum to house them died with him, until it was rediscovered by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., a cultural visionary who, at the age of twenty-seven, became the director of New York’s new Museum of Modern Art.”


Dr. Philip Eliasoph

Professor of Art History & Visual Culture, Dept of Visual & Performing Arts. As founder of Fairfield’s Art History program (1975), Professor Eliasoph has been devoted to expanding students’ knowledge, understanding and direct observation of world art. Sharing his passion for the history of art, he has focused on western art in the traditional and revolutionary contexts. Publishing on Renaissance models, ‘bel disegno’ academic, canonical methods, his writing and public views converge on the muscular shifts of mid century American art styles – from Social Realism to avant-gardist Abstract Expressionism. In his critique of recycling styles, he proposes a history of art without labels, periods, or categorizations. More broadly, his lectures and museum tours are based on the continuum of style/zeitgeist progress from antiquity to the cyber age. The heritage of painting, sculpture, architecture and mass media as revealing ‘mirrors of time, place, and society.’ Combining Ignatian inspired ‘discernment’ with the humanistic qualities of aesthetic enjoyment, his lively, dynamic talks expand the pleasures of viewing the visual arts. Setting out with basic questions – speaking with freshman students or senior, lifelong art lovers, we come to explore: ‘what is Art?’* ‘why does humanity treasure its values?’* ‘how can I learn to actively critique, analyze and appreciate art as part of my own intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth as a fully realized human being”?

In sync with an educated audience’s aspirations to follow Jefferson’s idea of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ he hopes to inspire and delight art enthusiasts of all ages. Often invited as a public lecturer, connoisseur and animated raconteur, his hope is to share his own artistic journeys as multi-dimensional ‘classroom/museum without walls.’ With decades of ‘in country’ art directed programs, he has escorted thousands of art pilgrims to museums, cultural landmarks, world heritage sites throughout the US and Europe. After a career as a regional art critic, publishing reviews for daily newspapers and magazines, he has been the weekly blogger for The New York Times InEducation global curriculum platform. Founder, moderator and host of the university’s community based ‘Open VISIONS Forum’ public affairs programs, he has enjoyed stage dialogues with many important 21st Century thinkers.

Connecting art of the past with issues and contexts of today – he guides us to visually explore the masterpieces of ancient, Renaissance, modern and contemporary artworks – all the more enriching as we come to realize why: ‘Art Really Matters!’



Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings.

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelzeldin

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